President Igor Dodon continues to insist that the mixed-member electoral system is a blow given to the Democratic Party (PDM). Moreover, according to him, the system will advantage the extraparliamentary parties that otherwise will not enter Parliament. But, according to the authors of a new Sic! article, both the practice of other states and the studies carried out in the field contradict him. A certain monsieur Duverger will not agree with Igor Dodon. In the long run, such a system encourages the appearance of two-party domination, IPN reports.
“The mixed-member electoral system advantages the parties that do not pass the election threshold … Nastase does not pass the election threshold, at least according to the current polls. Usatyi also does not pass, as well as other parties. But they can promote MPs. For example, the same Usatyi can promote candidates in the northern districts. In Balti, he can promote two-three candidates, or in other districts. The same Nastase can promote in the central districts. That’s why the mixed-member system, sincerely speaking and leaving aside the political-geopolitical messages, suits also the parties that can be represented in the Republic of Moldova not on party lists, but by uninominal constituencies,” President Dodon stated for Radio Free Europe in an interview.
According to him, polls show that Andrei Nastase and Renato Usatyi would not enter Parliament. But the Public Opinion Barometer of April 2017 reveals that 5.9% of the decided respondents would vote for Nastase’s PPPDA, while 4.1% for Usatyi’s PPPN. This happens when the presidential elections are yet relatively fresh in voters’ memory and the polarization of voters around Maia Sandu and Dodon keeps a part of its inertia.
The authors of the article say an aspect that President Dodon overlooks is the fact that the PDM in polls is in the same situation as the PPPN and PPPDA. If Igor Dodon insists that the two parties do not pass the election threshold, the same thing should apply to the Democrats. In this connection, the mixed-member system becomes a lifebuoy for Vlad Plahotniuc’s party.
The authors also make reference to Duverger’s law. “Maurice Duverger was a French politician, jurist and sociologist who studied the political systems in different countries (a reference name in political science: in fact, a law is named not in anyone’s honor). He noticed that the simple plurality uninominal (based on single-member districts) voting systems encourage the formation of a two-party system. The variant promoted by Igor Dodon is surely the mixed-member system, but the Democratic heavyweights are not wrong when they say that this system is a step towards the uninominal system. In essence, the mixed-member system represents the uninominal system by half. Such a system either makes the parties “with slim chances” to fuse or these weak parties are deserted by voters on the grounds that they have no chance of winning,” says the article.
According to the authors, Duverger explains that the system gives only the winner in each district a seat, a party which consistently comes third (or even second) in every district will not gain any seats in the legislature, even if it receives a large minority of the vote. Consequently, in the long run such a system tends to favor a two-party system. In the case of Moldova, it’s clear that the two parties that are advantaged by the system that is uninominal at least by half are the PSRM, which is already the largest parliamentary party and won a fresh victory in the presidential elections, and the PDM, which is the most powerful party at the local level in the country, with the largest number of mayors.
The full article in the Romanian can be read on sic.md. Sic! is a project implemented by IPN News Agency with financial support from the Black Sea Trust.